PACES celebrates 22 years of keeping Lights On After School

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Perry’s Academic Cultural and Enrichment Services (PACES) celebrated the annual nationwide Lights On After School celebration Thursday with a variety of activities at the Perry Elementary School and also marked 22 years of PACES’ services to the Perry community.

Longtime PACES Director Mary Hillman welcomed a full house to the event, noting that PACES has been a valuable part of the Perry educational environment for 22 years and thanking those who helped the program along the way.

Perry Mayor John Andorf then read an official proclamation, proclaiming PACES and Lights On After School Week in the Perry, and Perry Superintendent Clark Wicks addressed the gathering, praising Hillman and the PACES staff for their successful programs.

Hillman also thanked several foundations and businesses for their financial support over the past year, including the St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Human Needs Grant, Bock Family Foundation Grant and grants from Tyson Foods Inc. and United Way of Central Iowa.

A talent show brought laughter and shouts from the children, with the pre-K and TK, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade and combined fourth and fifth grade classes each taking the stage by turns and performing routines they clearly spent time carefully rehearsing.

Awards were then presented to each class in the annual Light Bulb coloring contest for pre-K/TK, kindergarten, first and second grades, the third grade poster contest and the essay contest for the fourth and fifth graders.

On Wednesday the PACES children walked laps around the newly rebuilt Kaufman Track at Perry High School to raise funds for PACES. Hillman also mentioned PACES’ participation in Operation Gratitude, which collects candy for members of the U.S. military, and she reminded parents that Friday Fun Nights are held from 4:30-6 p.m. weekly.

A light dinner followed, with loose-meat sandwiches and scotcheroos for dessert closing out the annual event.

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